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As my family starts to stay indoors more during cooler weather, what can I do to help them avoid getting colds?

The winter months in our region can certainly bring many challenges. As our days get shorter with less sunlight and our weather gets progressively colder, there is a natural tendency for us to become less active and more dormant. In an effort to remain healthy, it is important to try and maintain a nutritious diet. If you are able to keep to a regular exercise program, balanced diet and also get adequate sleep, you will have created the foundation for preventing wintertime illness. The key to success with exercise is to create a program that is both convenient and consistent. However, there are also some strategies to help reduce exposure to illness, both in the home and workplace. Frequent hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of illness. Keep an adequate supply of hand sanitizer available in backpacks, cars and briefcases, in addition to other common sites in your workplace and home. Don’t forget to adequately clean common surfaces such as doorknobs, computer keyboards and mice that are shared, along with refrigerator handles, the community coffee pot and other similar frequently touched community surfaces. In elevators, try using a glove, sleeve or a finger knuckle to depress buttons. Make sure to have your heating system checked for proper operation and change your air filters. When firing up either central or room-based humidifiers, make sure they have been cleaned from summer storage. This will avoid disseminating mold into the air that may have accumulated in the ultrasonic nebulizers inside these units.